Review by Edgar Torres
It seems like cinematic adaptations of the Fantastic Four have always been problematic. They officially made it to the big screen in 2005 after a version was attempted but never released in theaters. For this reason, some people would say that this summer’s version of Fantastic Four is the second reboot for this troubled franchise. When it was announced, people weren't pleased to find out that it was going the way of Spider-Man with its endless amount of reboots. People have even actively boycotted this film because they want the franchise to be released from the clutches of Fox so characters like Silver Surfer can join the Marvel Cinematic Universe which, in my opinion, would be a great addition to the eventual battle against Thanos.
In this version of the Fantastic Four we are first introduced to Reed Richards. He's in elementary school but already shows great promise in his scientific endeavors; much to the annoyance of his teacher who doesn’t believe a word little boy Reed is saying. It is around this time that he befriends Ben Grimm after getting caught in the Grimm scrapyard looking for a power converter to power his teleportation device. Fast forward many years, Reed and Ben seem to have perfected the teleportation device they've been working on and are showcasing it as their science fair experiment. Their teacher still doesn’t believe that they have built it, even after sending and retrieving a toy plane from another dimension. However, a man does take notice of the invention and offers Reed a full scholarship ride to come study at his facility. We come to find out this man is Dr. Franklin Storm, father of Johnny and adoptive father to Sue who are both geniuses even though Johnny is reluctant to his intelligence and would rather work on his car. Reed, with the help of Johnny, Sue, and Victor Von Doom (who is jealous that Reed perfected his design), build the first human-scale teleportation device. After a successful trial run, they sneak in a test run of their own. This is where they adopt their powers. I believe this to be all the information you will need to keep up with me as I take you on this oatmeal-like journey.
Before I get into the bad, it is important to note that I am a fan of all of the actors who played the Fantastic Four. Miles Teller (Whiplash), Kate Mara (House of Cards), Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station) and Jamie Bell (Snowpiercer) have never let me down with their performances. You can tell that they took this movie very seriously and became the characters they were portraying. If their lines were mediocre, then that’s another story and not something I would peg on the actor’s performance. The visual effects, for the most part, were also well executed. There was only one or two instances where I could tell that they had “green screened” the scene and that was anytime Reed used his stretching abilities.
With the change to the ages of the characters, they felt like we needed to be reintroduced to these characters which ended up costing the movie precious time. By the time we are introduced to the villain Dr. Doom, we are well beyond the halfway point of the film leaving little time for the villain hero interactions and final fight. All we really get is that Dr. Doom wants to destroy our earth so that he can preserve his planet and power. Simply put, pacing just felt out of place. We had fleeting moments where Ben is angry at Reed for running away before we get to the introduction of Doom. That beef is squashed once it started to hit the fan. We also don’t get to see their powers in full force until the final scene, which lasts all of five minutes. We do see their powers and each person's struggle to control their own individual power, but not until the end do we see them using their powers together to beat Doom.
Lastly, this version seems to only use the names of the characters because that’s where the similarities to the comics stop. I stated earlier the Fantastic Four are younger in this version and Doom is a bit older, but they also changed the way and where they travel to. It is supposed to be space travel that they engage in, not inter-dimensional travel. Now are we going to get a Silver Surfer who is of an alternate universe, or are they going to drop inter-dimensional travel in the sequel and never talk about it again?
I believe this movie shouldn’t have been made. Do I believe it will make money? Possibly, and I believe that’s what Fox wanted. Fox wants to put out two movies (the sequel is scheduled for 2017) so that they make their last couple million before they hand it back to Marvel. It is disappointing to see a great cast underutilized and now they’ll be unable to play their counterparts in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I do hope that Fox sees the light on this one and hands the rights back to Marvel sooner than later because they aren't doing the franchise justice. Little bit of advice: if a big movie studio magically drops its plans to offer their film in 3D, be prepared to be very, very disappointed.